(Press-News.org) American citizens are increasingly divided over the issue of environmental protection and seem to be taking their cue primarily from Congress, finds new research led by a Michigan State University scholar.
The gap between conservatives who oppose environmental protection and liberals who support it has risen drastically in the past 20 years, a trend seen among lawmakers, activists and – as the study indicates – the general public as well, said sociologist Aaron M. McCright.
The findings echo a June 12 Pew Research Center poll showing that, in general, Republicans and Democrats are more divided long ideological lines than at any point in the past two decades.
When it comes to the environment, McCright, reporting in the journal Social Science Research, said the "enormous degree" of polarization has serious implications.
"The situation does not bode well for our nation's ability to deal effectively with the wide range of environmental problems – from local toxics to global climate change – we currently face," said McCright, associate professor in MSU's Lyman Briggs College and Department of Sociology.
McCright and colleagues examined an annual national survey from 1974 to 2012 that included a question on environmental spending. According to the survey, which included more than 47,000 total respondents, the divide over environmental protection among citizens who consider themselves conservatives and liberals started growing particularly wide in 1992.
That coincides with the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union. Following that historic event, McCright said, the conservative movement replaced the "Red Scare" with the "Green Scare" and became increasingly hostile toward environmental protection.
McCright said the trend has been amplified by the Tea Party pulling the Republican Party even further to the right.
In 1990, the study found, about 75 percent of self-identified Democrats and Republicans alike in the general public believed the United States spent too little on environmental protection. By 2012, a gulf had formed between party followers, with 68 percent of Democrats believing the country spent too little on the environment, contrasted with only 40 percent of Republicans.
The trend roughly follows the environmental-protection voting patterns of Congress.
"This political polarization," McCright said, "is unlikely to reverse course without noticeable convergence in support of environmental protection among policymakers, with prominent conservatives becoming less anti-environmental in their public statements and voting records."
His co-authors are Chenyang Xiao of American University and Riley Dunlap of Oklahoma State University.
Congressional rift over environment influences public
ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:
Surgeons report significant migraine relief from cosmetic eyelid surgery technique
New Orleans, LA – Dr. Oren Tessler, Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine, is part of a team of plastic and reconstructive surgeons who report a high success rate using a method to screen and select patients for a specific surgical migraine treatment technique. More than 90% of the patients who underwent this surgery to decompress the nerves that trigger migraines experienced relief and also got a bonus cosmetic eyelid surgery. The study, which confirms the benefit of surgical treatment for migraines and expands ...
Chemists demonstrate 'bricks-and-mortar' assembly of new molecular structures
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Chemists at Indiana University Bloomington have described the self-assembly of large, symmetrical molecules in bricks-and-mortar fashion, a development with potential value for the field of organic electronic devices such as field-effect transistors and photovoltaic cells. Their paper, "Anion-Induced Dimerization of 5-fold Symmetric Cyanostars in 3D Crystalline Solids and 2D Self-Assembled Crystals," has been published online by Chemical Communications, a journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry. It is the first collaboration by Amar Flood, the James ...
Women in military less likely to drink than civilian women
Los Angeles, CA (August 1, 2014) While it is known that members of the U.S. military overall are more likely to use alcohol, a new study finds that female enlistees and female veterans are actually less likely to drink than their civilian counterparts. This study was published today in Armed Forces & Society, a SAGE journal published on behalf of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society. Researchers Jay Teachman, Carter Anderson, and Lucky Tedrow studied surveys of nearly 9,000 men and women who were currently members of the U.S. military or who were military ...
U-M researchers find protein that fuels repair of treatment-resistant cancer cells
ANN ARBOR—Imagine you're fighting for your life but no matter how hard you hit, your opponent won't go down. The same can be said of highly treatment-resistant cancers, such as head and neck cancer, where during radiation and chemotherapy some cancer cells repair themselves, survive and thrive. Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world, but the late detection and treatment resistance result in a high mortality rate. Now, University of Michigan researchers have found that a particular protein—TRIP13—encourages those cancer cells to repair themselves. ...
Boat noise impacts development and survival of sea hares
While previous studies have shown that marine noise can affect animal movement and communication, with unknown ecological consequences, scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Exeter and the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE) CRIOBE in France have demonstrated that boat noise stops embryonic development and increases larval mortality in sea hares. Sea hares, (specifically the sea slug Stylocheilus striatus used in this study) usually hatch from their eggs to swim away and later feed on toxic alga but this study, conducted in a coral reef lagoon in French ...
New international tree nut council study looks at nuts, diabetes and metabolic syndrome
Two new meta-analyses involving tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts) were recently published in the online publications, British Medical Journal Open (BMJ Open) (i) and PLOS ONE (ii). The BMJ Open article looked at the effects of tree nuts on metabolic syndrome (MetS) criteria and showed that tree nut consumption resulted in a significant decrease in triglycerides and fasting blood glucose. The PLOS ONE article focused on the effect of tree nuts on glycemic control in diabetes and showed significant ...
Vets' alcohol problems linked to stress on the home front
VIDEO: Research findings show the important role civilian life and the accompanying stress plays in cases of alcohol use disorder among returning National Guardsmen. Click here for more information. Regardless of traumatic events experienced during deployment, returning National Guard soldiers were more likely to develop a drinking problem if faced with civilian life setbacks, including job loss, legal problems, divorce, and serious financial and legal problems—all commonplace ...
Veterans' alcohol problems linked to stress on the home front
Ann Arbor, MI, July 31, 2014 — Regardless of traumatic events experienced during deployment, returning National Guard soldiers were more likely to develop a drinking problem if faced with civilian life setbacks, including job loss, legal problems, divorce, and serious financial and legal problems — all commonplace in military families. Results of the study by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health are published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Alcohol abuse is a major concern for reservists returning home. Nearly 7% ...
Research proves there is power in numbers to reduce electricity bills
Consumers can save money on their electricity bills and negotiate better deals by joining forces with similar groups of customers to switch energy suppliers according to new research. Collective switching or group buying schemes, where thousands of consumers join forces to negotiate cheaper electricity tariffs, are becoming more popular in the UK as bills continue to rise putting increasing pressure on household budgets. Initiatives like Which?'s Big Switch, People Power or the Big Deal have helped thousands of consumers to save, on average, up to a third of their yearly ...
Engineering a protein to prevent brain damage from toxic agents
Research at New York University is paving the way for a breakthrough that may prevent brain damage in civilians and military troops exposed to poisonous chemicals—particularly those in pesticides and chemical weapons. An article in the current issue of the journal ChemBioChem outlines the advancement in detoxifying organophosphates, which are compounds commonly used in pesticides and warfare agents. The patent-pending process was developed by NYU School of Engineering Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering Jin Kim Montclare, along with Richard Bonneau, ...